10 December 2020
By Tom Collins
Water is a critically important resource, fundamental to both homes and businesses. But it’s also a limited resource with water shortages becoming a global reality. We see the impacts of climate change abroad and more recently in Ireland with periods of drought impacting on how we value and manage our water. Water conservation and water stewardship is becoming as important as reducing our energy use and moving to more sustainable practices. Irish Water is working in partnership with businesses to safeguard our water supply now and into the future and has launched the ‘Irish Water Certified Water Stewardship Programme’ to provide water stewardship training for business customers.
Speaking at a pre-launch event on Wednesday with businesses who participated in the pilot training programme and their representative groups Niall Gleeson, Irish Water Managing Director said: “We are delighted to launch this initiative, which is the first of its kind globally. We are proud to announce that the pilot programme alone has been a catalyst for 460 new water conservation projects by business customers such as the Dalata Hotel Group, Intel and DAA. Conserving water not only helps protect your local supply – it can also protect the environment, boost your reputation, and reduce your bills.”
The specialised training provides business owners with the knowledge and expertise to lower water consumption and reduce operating costs while protecting the environment. Small changes such as identifying water waste on site, setting a baseline for water use, raising awareness amongst staff and customers or upgrading to water-efficient devices can help to save water and money.
Michael Gillen of Ibec said: “Ibec encourages Irish businesses to move to environmentally responsible water management and Irish Water’s Certified Water Stewardship Programme provides best practice training to support your business to use water sustainably, in a way that benefits people and nature.”
The programme is an international best practice certification – accredited by the European Water Stewardship Standard (EWS). The initiative is being implemented with the endorsement of key business stakeholder groups such as Ibec, IDA, Chambers Ireland, EPA, Origin Green, BIM and Enterprise Ireland.
University College Cork took part in the pilot programme. “UCC would highly recommend the programme to other businesses as it is international best practice and it helped our university to evaluate our water use and to make effective changes to protect the environment,” said Pat Meighan, UCC Energy & Utilities Manager.
The programme delivers the business case for taking action on water stewardship, water mapping of a business site, water-saving opportunities and how to develop a strategy and agreed action plan.
The launch of the Certified Water Stewardship Programme is the final step of three steps Irish Water has developed to support all types of businesses move to sustainable water management. We are proud to see businesses take the first step in taking the Water Conservation Pledge and following on with our free Online Water Conservation Training and finally enrolling and becoming a Certified Water Steward.